How to Lay Sleepers for Garden Edging: A Step by Step Guide

There are many options for garden edging, and using sleepers is just one way. There are a variety of sleepers to choose from, but wood and concrete sleepers would perfectly fit your garden space. They are known to add a touch of versatility, ruggedness and traditional rustic look for a naturally beautiful garden edge.

You can artistically lay them either on the edge, or even flat to form a single height. The only question is how? Do you know how to lay sleepers for garden edging? No matter the type of sleepers you choose to use, there are no rules regarding the extent to which you can use your creativity.

To help solve the puzzle, this article outlines six easy steps on how to lay sleepers for garden edging, using softwood garden sleepers. You are probably wondering why softwood? This is because they require minimum effort and wood skills to lay and fit.

Requirements:

You will need the following:

  • Screws or nails for fixing the sleepers together
  • Concrete or sand and gravel for the base
  • Plastic membrane for soil proofing the sleepers
  • Wood paint for protective layering
  • Hammer for knocking the nails or screwdrivers for the screws
  • Normal paint or coal for marking the ground
  • Shovel for digging shallow trenches
  • Hand saw for trimming and shaping
  • Gloves for safety
  • A drill for pre-drilling the wood

Step by Step

You can design the perfect edging for your garden by following these easy steps;

1. Come up with the ideal plan

Just like any other project, you need a proper plan for this project. The most important step is to visualize how your garden space looks like to know how and where you are going to place the sleepers, flat or on the edge.

This will make it easier in knowing the correct number, shape and sizes of sleepers that you need to have for the whole process.

2. Prepare the Ground

The next step is to clearly mark and outline the specific areas where you will be laying the sleepers. You can use normal paint or coal, depending on what you can easily find effortlessly. After marking out the areas, you have to clear the area off any unwanted objects like debris, then digging up shallow trenches. 

In preparing the ground, you can choose to use concrete, sand, and gravel or just normal soil at the bottom of the trench as the base for the first layer of sleepers. This solemnly depends on how long you want the edge to last. Therefore, for a long term artistic edge, I recommend you to opt for a foundation made of semi-dry concrete.

However, using a concrete base requires extra skills and time. This option can also interfere with the proper drainage in the garden, causing risks of flooding.

3. Lay the sleepers on the surface

After preparing your foundation, lower in the first layer of sleepers on the base in a position of your choice. Whichever position you use, the sleepers should be parallel to the landscape of your garden so that all the edges meet at a perfect angle for easy fixing.

Ensure that this layer is firmly secured into the ground, when not using sand and gravel, or natural soil. Thereafter, you can add more sleepers to the height you planned. When working on a taller wall or a raised garden, uniformly assemble the rest of the layers carefully for a stable edge at the end.  This will also make them easier to fasten in the next step

Shape and size matters for a perfect fit, so be careful to match the edges of the sleepers per layer. You can also create a customized unique look by trimming and shaping them to your ideal shapes and sizes. You can comfortably do this using a saw hence bringing out your creative self.

4. Fix them together

Using screws or nails, fasten the sleepers vertically or horizontally, depending on how you laid them for a stronger long-lasting edge.  When handling multiple layers or thicker sleepers, use long screws like TimberLok screws. Thisensures a successful penetration all through to the next layer, pulling the sleeper tighter onto the next one.

The simplest way to hack this step is pre-drilling the sleepers to avoid creating splits in the wood when fastening the screws. It also makes it easier for your screws to pass through, effortlessly.

You can alternatively use nails as I earlier mentioned. However, when using nails, you have to be sure to hammer them from an angle because they are not as stronger. You need to know that this can be quite overwhelming to figure out, mostly at the ends where the edges meet.

5. Insert a plastic membrane

This is a step which is optional but can be very helpful in learning how to lay sleepers, especially when you only used one layer of wood. Fixing a plastic sheet from the inside of the wall makes it impossible to get in contact with the soil. This ensures that the soil is retained behind the wall, proofing the sleepers from any future rotting. In the end, you will have a more durable edge, no matter the weather.

6. Finish off

To avoid accidents, trim off overlapping or unwanted ends and sharp edges for a complete even look. Whether you are using new or recycled sleepers, you might consider coating your edge with a protective layer for a strong durable finish and protection against harsh elements.

This will help increase their lifespan so that they can be used over and over again. However, there are no rules here, so you can still coat them in your own creative and colorful way, for an impressive garden edge.

Conclusion

To clearly separate your garden from other areas in a beautiful and amazing way, it is important to go all creative on this project and this is why you need to know how to lay sleepers for garden edging. This is something you can do in your own free time alongside friends or family. Always remember to be extra careful to avoid accidents in the process.

Please, note that you must periodically check on your garden edge so as to notice damages and make timely amends. I hope this helps you in your landscaping projects. Let’s all have fun trying these easy steps

How much Grass Seed do I need per Square Foot?

How much Grass Seed do I need per Square Foot?

Every homeowner dreams of having a beautiful and healthy lawn. A good looking lawn that is well maintained will greatly improve your home’s landscape overall aesthetic. You may ask yourself, “How much grass seed do I need per square foot?”

To ensure that the grass grows properly you need to take care of the soil that the grass grows on. To achieve this you need to use a best pull behind plug aerator which will take care of the soil without destroying the grass consequently allowing the grass to grow properly

To get a beautiful lawn, you not only need to put in a lot of your effort and time but also need the right quantity of grass seed. You need to know the amount of seed you should buy per square foot.

Below are some important tips that can help you determine how much grass seed you need to buy per square foot so you can have a beautiful lawn that will make everyone stop and stare.

  1. Determine Property Size

This is the first step you need to take. You have to determine the size of the area you would like to be covered with grass. Most people usually make the mistake of miscalculating their lawns sizes. Before you invest in grass seeds, you should take your time and correctly determine the size of your lawn.

You can start by measuring your entire property size and then subtracting the sizes of the non-lawn areas like the flowerbeds, sidewalks and driveways.

Knowing the right size of your lawn area will help you save a lot of money since you will only buy grass seeds that you need. You will also not waste your time or labor.

To get the exact measure of your lawn area, you can do it manually using a tape measure. You can also use an online lawn size calculator.

2. Know the Right Grass Type

Once you have determined the size of your lawn, you need to know the best grass type that will be suitable for your area. Planting the right grass type has several disadvantages in that apart from giving your lawn the best look, it will also make a difference in the amount of seed you will use.

Once you have determined the right size of the area you need to be covered with grass and you have also determined the right seed type, you are now ready to determine the number of seeds you need. When you buy any particular grass seed, you should follow the guidelines on the seed package.

Some grass seeds manufacturers recommend planting 1 pound of seeds per 1000 square feet while some seed types can only cover 200 square feet per pound. As a result, you can calculate how much seed you need by dividing the size of your lawn by the recommended area size on your seed bag. Most grass seed bags recommend 300 to 400 square foot for every pound of seeds.

3. Even Seed Distribution

When planting your grass seed on the designated lawn areas, you should ensure that you distribute your grass seeds evenly. You can use a broadcast spreader to scatter your seeds uniformly over a large area. This will ensure that you end up with a uniform coverage once the grass grows.

To minimize the amount of grass seed you need, the grass seed you use should be of high quality. The quality of seed determines the quantity that you will need to use. Quality grass seeds also mean short germination times.

Although higher quality grass seeds with fewer fillers and weed seeds are a bit expensive, you will not use as much hence you will save a lot of money. Using lower quality seeds means that you will have to buy a lot of bags hence will spend more.

It Takes Time to Grow a Healthy Lawn

You might be a little bit impatient with your lawn and may want to make your grass grow fast. However, over-applying your grass seeds will not help. If you use too much grass seed, the grass may not do well since there will be increased competition for nutrients, water and light.

Your lawn looks spectacular as fall colors dot your trees. But when the trees begin to shed their leaves, it is time to hit the ground and do the sweeping.
You too should enjoy the serenity that a neat lawn brings to a home and this can be only so if you own and efficient best lawn sweepers

On the other hand, if you use less seeds than the amount recommended per square foot, you will end up with a thin lawn with lots of bare spots. As a result, follow the guidelines recommended on the seed bag and use your lawn size to know how much grass seed you should plant per square foot.

Tomato Start In My Kitchen

I have aspirations to grow great tomatoes, thick heirloom slicers and rich San Marzanos for canning. To date, my greatest success has been the small cherry tomatoes, sadly, not a favorite of my home-sharing posse. Thanks to a gift subscription to Mother Earth News from my mother-in-law, I read a great article in the January 2013 issue, “Best Tips for Starting Seeds Indoors” and put the tips to the test. The result is a lovely crop of tomato starts: San Marzanos; the heirlooms: Persimmon, deep orange and reportedly sweet; Black Krim, a “black” tomato from the Russian Black Sea area; & Costoluto, a traditional red slicer from Italy. I will transplant these into larger containers, let them recuperate, then harden them off before planting them outside.

Glancing at my notebook, I found this passage written on 1.19.13, when I first planted the seeds, a collection from Renee’s Seeds called Heirloom Summer Feast:

I love the description Heirloom Summer Feast. I imagine a deliciously hot summer, the heat breaking in the early evening, perhaps salty skin recently returned home from the beach. Smiles. Lethargic limbs happily made tired from an ocean swim. A pitcher of lemonade, ice clanking on the sides, fresh mint swirling. A plate of tomatoes, the orange persimmons, the beefy red of the Costoluto and the dark purple of the Black Krim, sliced evenly on a plate, a drizzle of olive oil, crunchy salt flakes and a bit of pepper.

Please grow.

Grub Mystery Solved

Thanks to everyone who helped us with the compost grub mystery. It turns out they are larval green fruit beetles. I have seen the beetles around the yard before and wondered if they were friend or foe. It turns out they are pretty much neutral. They eat fruit but can’t do much harm unless the fruit is overripe or bird damaged. I’ll let the grubs stay and break down the compost although I think the raccoons or, more likely, skunks are rooting through our pile looking for them.

Ramshackle reader Josh says that his ducks and chickens love to eat them. He sent us this link to the Natural History Museum’s entomology research page on the Green Fruit Beetle. Thanks Josh!

Ramshackle reader katastrophik pointed us to whatsthatbug.comwhere the bug guy (Daniel) dropped this knowledge:

Hi Eric,

Congratulations. You have Crawly-Backs. Charles Hogue indicates in

his wonderful book, Insects of the Los Angeles Basin, that the grubs
of the Green Fruit Beetle or Figeater, are called Crawly-Backs. He
writes: “The adults are active from late summer to early fall and,
during this period, lay their eggs in compost piles and other
accumulations of decomposing plant litter. The larvae are fairly
large (2 in., or 50 mm, long) and C-shaped; the body is pale
translucent white, and the head is dark brown. The first two molts
are completed in the fall, the third the following spring. Larvae
move forward on their backs with an undulating motion of the entire
body. They obtain purchase on the substratum with transverse rows of
stiff short stout bristles on the back of the thorax. Because of the
peculiar manner of locomotion, they are known as ‘crawly-backs.'” The
adults are beautiful metallic green beetles that have a loud buzzing
flight.

Have your own bug identification question? You may want to ask the bug guy.

And, of course, once you know what you are looking for, there is always wikipedia.

Rebar Bean Poles

Ever since reading The Year I Ate My Yard by Tony Kienitz, I have wanted to experiment with using rebar in the garden. I like that it is an unromantic material which can actually be unexpectedly beautiful as it ages from new iron to a dark rusty brown. We have also discovered that it can easily become a whimsical yet still practical addition.

“Three-eighths rebar can be curled and coiled, bent and boxed in just about any direction and it can be done by hand…

…Rebar gives the garden a sense of age, of decay, and ruin, but ironically, it is sturdier and easier to negotiate than bamboo stakes, redwood or any of the other manufactured verticality offered.”

Tony Kienitz – The year I ate my yard

We decided to try it out on two wine barrel green bean plantings. The concept was to create a vine or tendril-like top to the typical teepeeshaped bean support. The supports were fun to make. We’ll see how they look once the vines have climbed to the tops.